The Amercan Heart Association (AHA) endorses the Nintendo Wii video gaming system.

So, it’s only fair that researchers at Liverpool John Moores University, in the UK should measure the energy expenditure and physical activity of active video games (exergames).

First, the details.

  • The physiological cost and enjoyment of exergaming on Wii Fit with aerobic exercise were compared in 3 populations.
    • 14 adolescents
    • 15 young adults
    • 13 older adults
  • Cardiorespiratory and enjoyment measurements were compared during 3 types of gaming.
    • Wii Fit activities (yoga, muscle conditioning, balance, aerobics)
    • Brisk treadmill walking
    • Jogging

And, the results.

  • Wii aerobics elicited moderate intensity activity in adolescents, young adults, and older adults.
  • Energy expenditure and heart rate of Wii Fit activities in all groups were significantly greater than hand held gaming but lower than treadmill exercise.
  • Heart rate during Wii aerobics was less than the recommended intensity for maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness.
  • Group enjoyment was significantly greater for Wii balance and aerobics vs treadmill walking and jogging.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Wii Fit appears an enjoyable exergame for adolescents and adults, stimulating light-to-moderate intensity activity through the modification of typically sedentary leisure behavior.”

Maybe so, but it’s less than what is considered necessary for maintaining fit heart and lungs.

Recently, I had an opportunity to exergame. It raised by heart rate, but I got bored after the novelty of it wore off — the third time.

Looking forward to the reports of long-term benefits.

6/20/10 19:02 JR; Updated 12/28/10 22:05 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.